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Press Release

Former Cincinnati City Council member sentenced to 16 months in prison for bribery, attempted extortion

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

CINCINNATI – Former Cincinnati City Council member Alexander “P.G.” Sittenfeld, 39, of Cincinnati, was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to 16 months in prison for bribery and attempted extortion by a government official.

Sittenfeld was convicted following a jury trial in June and July 2022.

“Sittenfeld earned today’s prison sentence,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “A jury of his peers reviewed the evidence against him and found him guilty. Now, he must be accountable for his actions. Not only did he break the law, but he also violated the public’s trust. Public service is just that: public service, not self service.”

According to court documents and trial testimony, Sittenfeld accepted $20,000 in bribe payments to his political action committee (PAC) from undercover FBI agents posing as corrupt businessmen working with a real estate developer.

Sittenfeld knowingly received the $20,000 in bribe payments in return for guaranteeing votes for a development project at 435 Elm St. Sittenfeld told the undercover agents he could “deliver the votes.”

Trial testimony detailed that Sittenfeld’s typical fundraising strategy was to use his power over city business to extract campaign contributions from individuals who regularly conducted business with the city. Sittenfeld instructed his staff to create a list and track individuals with business before the city so he could identify and target donors.

For example, Sittenfeld solicited the real estate developer to collect $10,000 in contributions to the former council member for Sittenfeld’s support of the developer’s efforts. 

In total, Sittenfeld accepted eight $5,000 checks in 2018 and 2019 from the undercover FBI agents. The latter $20,000 was received from the undercover agents for help with their sports book.

Sittenfeld’s PAC records do not list the undercover agents as the source of the $40,000 total that he received directly from them, and his ethics disclosures failed to list expensive gifts and dinners he received from the undercover agents.

Sittenfeld was indicted in November 2020.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the sentence imposed today by U.S. District Court Judge Douglas R. Cole. Deputy Criminal Chief Emily N. Glatfelter and Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew C. Singer and Megan Gaffney Painter represented the United States in this case.

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Updated October 10, 2023

Public Corruption